A Different Halloween – Simon Harris asks children of Ireland NOT to go Trick or Treating

Former Minister for Health, Simon Harris has released a video to the children of Ireland, highlighting that trick-or-treating is not a good idea this year. In a video uploaded to Instagram on Sunday, the Minister for Higher Education said he had a message to send to the children of Ireland about Halloween, and said he knew they appreciated ‘blunt honesty’.

“A message to our children- I think they’ve been amazing throughout this pandemic,” he said.

“I have received a lot of messages from children about Halloween and in the past when we were blunt and honest our kids have responded with resilience, it’s been so tough for them.”

“They had communions cancelled, confirmations cancelled, schools closed, exams cancelled and graduations held online.”

“But, in relation to Halloween, it’s going to be different this year. It’s not a good idea to be traipsing around to everyone’s house.”

However, the minister assured children that this doesn’t mean they can’t have fun and that Halloween can be celebrated in many other ways.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time and dress up, it doesn’t mean that mam and dad can’t get sweets into the house or you can’t watch a spooky movie.”

“But, let’s make sure the only fright we give each other is the fright of Halloween games and not the fright of being sick.”

“We need you, the children of Ireland, to have Halloween and enjoy Halloween but it will be a different Halloween. And I know you will understand that because you’ve been better then maybe the adults this pandemic.”

“I’m so proud of you and I know your parents are.”

As Level 3 restrictions to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 will possibly continue beyond October 28th, it may be time to come up with alternative ways to celebrate Halloween. The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance on Halloween in September, noting that traditional Halloween events such as trick or treating, costume or haunted house parties are high risk for spreading Covid-19.

We should prepare children for a new version of Halloween rather than disappoint them at the end of the month. Parents should discuss with their children now that trick or treating is off the agenda and talk to their children about finding new ways to do things at home.

Here are some simple activities that  children & teenagers can enjoy without needing to mix with other families.

  • Younger children would enjoy ringing the doorbells of their own homes and be surprised by treats handed to them by their parents pretending to be a different person at each door
  • Creating Halloween themed Art & Crafts within the home
  • Decorating your home
  • Doing a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt in your garden at dusk
  • Letting off sparklers when it gets darker
  • Toasting marshmallows over a fire pit
  • Decorate your living space and make home-made costumes from old clothes or ripped sheets.
  • Try out some traditional games from parents & grandparents childhood’s e.g. apple bobbing, snap apple, etc.
  • Try out Halloween Recipes
  • Try making Bairín Breac – Various things are baked into the loaf, including of course a ring. It is seen as a form of divination for the year ahead. e.g. Ring – marriage, Coin – wealth, Rag – poverty, Thimble – old maid.
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Have a Halloween Movie Night
  • Or even try Zoom Trick or Treating
  • Zoom Fancy Dress parties
  • Get out for walks -stay active!

Remember, wherever you are on Halloween night, the public health advice on social distancing, hand-washing, coughing/sneezing etiquette and face coverings must still be abided by.

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